‘We’re going to back you to the core’

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Looking at the 2024 World Cup and standing down as T20I captain with three matches against Sri Lanka right now, Hardik Pandya’s message to his young team is clear: “Go out there and express yourself.” [yourself]We’re going to return you to the original.”

Hardik takes over the captaincy in the absence of regular skipper Rohit Sharma, who will take back the captaincy for the ODIs. Even though it is not yet clear who will be India’s captain in the next T20 World Cup, Hardik assessed India’s position in T20s, saying there was nothing wrong with their approach in the lead-up to the tournament.

India had taken a new approach to the format when Rohit took over the captaincy and Rahul Dravid became the new head coach: they started getting much quicker off the blocks in the powerplay, Rohit changed his approach at the top, and most of India’s batsmen were scoring quickly. Batting with intent to do. Except that in Australia, the bounce and pace were not to India’s liking, and they went back to their old template of setting a base and then building on it.

“You see, I think before [T20] World Cup, I don’t think we have done anything wrong,” Hardik said in Mumbai a day before the series opener against Sri Lanka. “Our blueprint, approach, everything was the same. Yes, things didn’t go the way we wanted in the World Cup. And I think our approach was not the same as it was before the World Cup. what we saw and told the boys to just go out there and express [yourself], which they will. And it is up to us how we support them.

“What we have said is that we are going to get you back to the core. All the players have support from me that I am going to get them back to the core. Who are here, they are the best cricketers. The country, that’s it.” The reason they are here. So, I have to make them believe that, which is also a fact. For me, it is important how I make them feel that they are the best in what they do. And if I can do that If I can, and get that belief in him, I don’t think he will have any problem in international cricket. I think he will go on and have a great career ahead.”

Hardik echoed Rohit’s words a year before the 2022 World Cup, when he and Dravid had assured their players to “go out and express themselves”. With the next T20 World Cup a year-and-a-half away, Hardik did not elaborate on the team’s plans but said there is not much time to experiment as there are only six T20s before IPL 2023.

“Obviously, the plans are set. We want to play a certain way, which we will,” Hardik said. “There are only six games before the IPL so we don’t have much time to do much but going forward we will keep making plans and see what are the plans that are working for us. And going ahead make sure Everyone gets enough opportunities and just look at what we need to do at the right time when needed.”

Being the hosts and 3-0 winners the last time these two teams played a bilateral T20I series – in India in early 2022 – Hardik said they have the upper hand in home conditions, and henceforth no scores are decided want to do Their defeat by eventual champions Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup.

“No, we’re not looking to organize anything. [after the Asia Cup loss]Hardik smiled and said, ‘We want to play good cricket. Yes, we will make them feel like we are in India, don’t worry about that, I assure you and promise they will feel like they are playing an international team and that too India in India. So from my boys’ and my side, we’re going to be candid. We don’t need to go and sledge them, our body language is enough to give them a little scare, which we will, I promise you.”

India will field a new-look team in the T20Is with vice-captain Suryakumar Yadav, and several senior players either unavailable or rested. Three uncapped players – Rahul Tripathi, Shivam Mavi and Mukesh Kumar – also have a chance to make their international debut.

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